Sunday, February 13, 2011

Advertising to Attract Teacher Applicants: Part 1 - The School or District Website

Now is the time of year we in educational leadership begin the search to replace teachers we've non-renewed, teachers who have retired, teachers who have gotten married and moved away, teachers who will be staying home with a new baby, etc. Whatever the reason for our vacancies, the vacancies must be filled. I'm going to offer some practical advice in the next several posts concerning how to advertise to find the right teachers to fill your vacancies. With each post, I'll discuss a few of the most obvious and some not-so-obvious ways and places to advertise, along with some pros, cons and comments for each.

School or district website - The most obvious place to advertise a job opening, and perhaps the place you should begin, is with your school and/or district website. If an industrious prospective applicant is browsing your website, you would be well-served to have your opening(s) posted. Once you write the posting (and proof it to be sure it has conveyed exactly the level of excellence you're seeking) and submit it to the webmaster (who then will make it magically appear on the website), you need to take a few minutes to browse the website and be sure the posting, along with application instructions, is easy for a first-time visitor to find.

The upside to posting an opening on your school/district website is that you should have total control over what is said. In other words, there should be no word limits or cost considerations for your posting. Additionally, a prospective applicant doesn't have to go somewhere else online in order to investigate your school or district - they are there already.

The downside to posting an opening on your school/district website is that prospective applicants from out of town or who have never heard of your school or district may have difficulty finding your school or district online in the first place. Another issue is the quality of your school or district website. If the quality of your school or district website is poor, prospective applicants who do find your site may have second thoughts about applying.

The bottom line is this - if you have a teaching position available for next school year, start the advertising process by posting the vacancy on your school or district website. If you want the best applicants, however, do not settle for your school or district website being the only place you advertise your available teaching position.

1 comment:

criswellsb said...

As a teacher working on my M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision, I read this post with great interest. The presentation of information and ease of navigation of a school district's website makes a strong statement. With all of the Web tools readily available today, it is definitely possible and favorable to create an inviting home page. As the saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." The quality and innovation of the district's website can also attract and impress tech savvy applicants who are looking for a school division that is moving forward with 21st Century skills. Posting detailed information about the job, rather than simply stating a job title, provides applicants with greater understanding of job responsibilities. This may even serve as a screening tool of sorts for over- and under-qualified applicants, saving both the applicants and the district time and energy. I liked your suggestion of taking the opportuntiy to navigate your own district's website, as an applicant would, to experience firsthand how user friendly it is, as well as looking for clarification, to attract the best future educators.